UK Tories Accused of Soliciting Russian Magnate

Party's finance leader denies discussing illegal donation
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Oct 21, 2008 3:35 PM CDT
Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who owns Russia's Basic Element conglomerate, is seen at a news conference earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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(Newser) – Britain's Conservative Party is taking heat for allegedly requesting $85,000 from a Russian billionaire and suggesting he skirt UK law by gifting the money through his British firm. The solicitation was firmly denied by the party’s finance spokesman, who confirmed he met with aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska but wouldn’t say if they discussed the matter, reports the Telegraph.

The fresh accusations come from a financier who says he arranged a meeting aboard Deripaska's yacht at which two Tories were present. The charges come as Parliament probes into the relationship between Dripaska and the UK’s current Business Secretary. Their chummy friendship raised eyebrows since Peter Mandelson has previously made decisions on aluminum import tariffs.